A joint task force that has targeted gang and violent crime in Yakima has reached a milestone.
Dubbed “Operation Invictus Civitas” — Latin for “undefeated city” — the joint task force is composed of U.S. deputy marshals, Yakima police officers, sheriff’s deputies and members of the Pacific Northwest Violent Offenders Task Force. The effort targets fugitives and violent criminals.
On Wednesday, Invictus Civitas made its 100th arrest when it apprehended a Lower Valley man unlawfully possessing an AR-15 rifle, according to a U.S. Marshal’s news release.
The task force began in early June, when it arrested two men in connection with a multiple homicide case west of White Swan, said Raymond Fleck, U.S. Marshal Service’s supervising deputy for Eastern Washington and the task force’s coordinator.
The operation was developed as part of the U.S. Justice Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, which brings together law-enforcement agencies and community groups to identify violent crime problems and come up with solutions.
Fleck said the program allows the offender task force to concentrate more resources on Yakima County’s gang issues.
The task force includes federal marshals, Yakima County sheriff’s deputies, and officers from Yakima and other police agencies. In Yakima, the police department’s Gang Enforcement Unit is part of the Invictus team, YPD Lt. Chad Stephens said.
Other agencies participating in the program include Union Gap police, state Department of Corrections, Yakama Nation Tribal Police, the Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Maike and Associates, a Port Angeles-based research consultant, also is participating in the operation.
“It is pulling together resources,” Stephens said. “Most agencies in the Valley do not have the resources to deal with things.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the federal government pays any overtime the YPD gang unit and officers from other agencies incur while performing Invictus operations, Fleck and Stephens said.
Among the arrests credited to the Invictus operation so far are James Dean Cloud and Donovan Quinn Carter Cloud, suspects in the killings of five people at a White Swan home in June. Fleck said officers were asked to participate in the manhunt for the suspects.
Stephens said Yakima’s gang officers were not involved in the arrest of the Clouds. James Cloud was arrested in Wapato, while Donovan Cloud was captured in Celilo Village, Ore.
Yakima officers working on Invictus, along with other members of the team, were involved in the arrest of two men in connection with a drive-by shooting in Yakima last week. On his Twitter feed, Yakima police Chief Matt Murray said the officers had concluded one arrest and came over to assist with the drive-by shooting.
Along with the arrests, the officers involved in Invictus also seized eight weapons, Stephens said.
The operation is expected to run through September.